Over 300, 000 bags of maize at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot in Kisumu is discoloured raising concerns over its safety for human consumption.
The consignment is part of the 600, 000 bags the board purchased from farmers and stored at the facility last year.
Speaking at the facility in Kisumu on Tuesday, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said a technical team comprising officers from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Ministry of Health, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and crops department is already at the facility to investigate the cause of the discolouration.
“The discolouration does not necessarily mean that the maize is contaminated. Once the team is done with the investigations we shall be able to know the cause and whether it is fit for human consumption or not,” said Kiunjuri.
Kiunjuri said the discolouration could have been occasioned by keeping the grain in silos for long adding that a comprehensive report on the matter shall be released after one week.
The CS who is touring NCPB stores across the country to ascertain the state of produce at the facilities following a Senate directive said the team will also investigate other challenges facing NCPB silos and come up with the way forward.
One of the challenges is inadequate storage facilities since part of the stores and warehouses have been leased out.
“We are now forced to transport part of the maize here to other storage facilities yet this facility has a capacity of 900, 000 bags against the 600, 000 it received last year,” said the CS.
The government, he added, was in the process of paying Sh2.6 billion owed to sugarcane farmers in a bid to revive the sector.
“The factories set to benefit are currently being audited to ensure that only legitimate farmers are paid. No ghost farmers shall be paid and we also want the factories to clear with farmers who owe them before we release the funds,” added Kinjuri.
President Kenyatta announced the waiver on October 20 in Kakamega during Mashujaa day celebrations.
In addition, a 15 member task force to oversee the clearance of the Sh2.6 billion farmers’ debt has already been gazzetted.